Obamacare is on its way, no two ways about it.
In fact, let’s just stop calling it Obamacare, and call it for what it is, GovCare. Purported conservatives in the political swamp are learning to defend this provision or that measure or this footnote within this mammoth thousand-page (or two-thousand page, whatever it is) piece of
ordure legislation, cherry-picking as it suits. And for good reason, from the logical perspective of the politician. Whatever the majority of the people want, give it to ‘em: shovel out the pork and bacon drippings with both hands, lard it up, baby!
And people do want it, apparently. Maybe not all of it, maybe only this bit or that bit, but in the end, it’s like getting only a selective part of a presidential candidate: can’t be done, you get the whole campaign-promise-breaking kit-n-caboodle.
Same with Obamacare, no matter if Obama wins reelection or not (he will), we might well get the whole thing.
If they can’t afford it, no worries, there are credits and allowances in the system, costs of which will eventually be funded by the more affluent in society, who can “afford to pay a little more”.
So, costs are going up. My family’s medical insurance costs, or taxes, or fees, will eventually increase, that much is certain. So, what to do? Instead of fussing and fretting about this new reality, we can figure out winners and losers in this new Obamacare world, and devise some defensive strategies.
“Fat, and Getting Fatter”
National waistlines are expanding, and bathroom scales are popping rivets. It’s not just me saying it, here’s a few random headlines:
From National Public Radio: Americans Are Fat, And Expected To Get Much Fatter
From Reuters: Fat and Getting Fatter: US Obesity Rates to Soar by 2030
From CNN‘s Opinion pages, semi-useful advice from columnist David Frum: Why We’re Fatter and What To Do About It (here’s a hint, Frum: eat less)
Low levels of wealth correlates positively with obesity and with lack of insurance. That’s a fact. The top 10 fattest states are also in the poorest 10 by income: Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennesse… the usual suspects.
Obesity also correlates positively with bad health. Beset as they are with higher rates of heart disease, adult-onset type II diabetes, and a host of other obesity-related ailments, fitness-challenged individuals find it harder to get good medical coverage.
Henceforth, no longer. More poor fat people will have medical coverage, it’s as good as done.
Does it not follow then, that unhealthy hippos will be clogging up the arteries of healthcare facilities for years to come — preventive care measures notwithstanding?
Said hospitals and clinics and wellness centers can now happily stop worrying about who’s picking up the check for indigent patients. It’s you and me, indirectly, with Uncle Sam as the broker. With hospitals now flush with cash, the landlord won’t have to worry about them paying the rent.
Enter Obamacare Coping Strategy no. 1: as long as *you’re* the landlord, you might make a little of that back. A Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) like Medical Properties Trust (MPW) will make you into a property owner that never has to unclog a smelly toilet or address a rat problem in the basement.
MPW owns healthcare facilities, in the form of “25 general acute care hospitals, 19 long-term acute care hospitals, eight inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, two medical office buildings, and six wellness centers“, and then leases them back to operators on long-term leases.
Did we mention that MPW sports a tidy 7.2% yield?
Healthcare REIT (HCN) is another option, with both senior housing centers and a clutch of hospitals and clinics, and a respectable 5.08% yield. For the senior assisted living angle, Senior Housing Properties (SNH), and its chunky 7.17% yield is already part of the 101C retirement plan.
In the world of
Obamacare GovCare winners and losers, healthcare REITS are definitely winners.
One Bite At A time
Large people like to eat (duh!). With their grossly distended, never-sated stomachs, large people need to be ever stuffing that pie-hole with delicious comestibles. With better access to medical care, they’ll also be living (and eating) longer.
There you have it, Obamacare Coping Strategy #2: invest in food stocks. Non-cyclical food stocks like Kellogg and General Mills (GIS), makers of scrumptious sugar-bombs like Pop Tarts and Fruit Roll-Ups, sport low P/E’s and decent dividend yields of 3.31% and 3.35%. How about Heinz, with a 3.59% yield? Only if you think hefty gourmands like ketchup with their Ore-Ida french fries.
For the risk-averse, foodie ETFs might be more their speed. The appropriately-named PBJ and its cousin XLP are belly-stuffed with blue-chip food stocks, including Yum Brands, Campbell Soup and Pepsico. Lower risk, lower dividend, though.
Golden Enterprises (GLDC), is my own favorite little nano-cap. Steady stock price, positive net income year after year, and a 3.91% dividend yield that’s as tasty and delicious as its famed pork rinds. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (RMCF) is no sluggard either, with a 4.19% yield that’s sweeter than chocolate fudge on a cold winter day.
Go ahead, fully-insured fat people, eat up!
That’s it for Part 1 — Part 2 is a little shorter, and might run this weekend or next week. Thanks for reading, and please don’t take offense if you’re fat. Just poking fun a little bit, and watching it jiggle.
Obligatory disclaimer: long SNH, RMCF, MPW and GLDC. Not long anything else, except maybe in the tooth. The preceding is presented for entertainment and education purposes, blah blah…
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